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Methods in Clinical Neuropsychological Research


Important Note

  • All Semester II bachelor and master psychology courses and examinations (2020-2021) will be offered in an on-line format.

  • If it is safe and possible to do so, supplementary course meetings may be planned on-campus. However, attendance at these meetings will not be required to successfully complete Semester II courses.

  • All obligatory work groups and examinations will be offered on-line during Central European Time, which is local time in the Netherlands.

  • Information on the mode of instruction and the assessment method per course will be offered in Brightspace, considering the possibilities that are available at that moment. The information in Brightspace is leading during the Corona crisis, even if this does not match the information in the Prospectus.

Entry requirements

Open to master’s students in Psychology.

Course description

This course enhances students’ academic foundation in preparation of writing the master’s thesis, evidence-based work in clinical practice, and/or research career paths.

Neuropsychological research aims to understand the relationship between brain (dysfunction) and behavior. More fundamental neuropsychological research focuses on understanding cognitive and behavioral mechanisms, and how these are impacted by changes in brain structure and function, while more clinically oriented research studies (improvements in) neuropsychological performance, diagnostics and treatment. This course will discuss a range of study designs and methods that are commonly used in neuropsychological research of both types. This includes observational designs, both cross-sectional and longitudinal, and treatment evaluation designs, ranging from case reports and single case experimental design to randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Furthermore, a strong focus on physiological measurements will highlight contemporary ways in which the link between brain and behavior is studied, in the lab but especially in applied clinical settings. Examples of topics are meta-analysis, longitudinal cohort studies, clinical significance, biomarkers, MRI, EEG, etc.

Strengths and weaknesses of these designs and methods will be discussed, as well as the standards of conducting and reporting these types of research. The course also addresses relevant issues regarding research ethics and scientific integrity. At the end of this course, students will be able to identify strengths and weaknesses of published neuropsychological research and formulate suggestions for improvement. It also offers the opportunity to further explore personal affinity with research, which helps preparing for career choices.

Course objectives

Students will:

  1. Gain knowledge of research designs and methods typically used in clinical neuropsychology and learn to reflect upon their strengths and weaknesses;

  2. Learn to critically assess research papers in the field of neuropsychology on the merits of their chosen research strategies, design, ethical aspects, and adherence to reporting standards; and

  3. Learn to assess relevance of research papers for possible integration in clinical practice.


For the timetables of your lectures, work group sessions, and exams, see the timetables page of your study programme. You will also find the enrolment codes here. Psychology timetables



Students need to enroll for lectures.


Students are not automatically enrolled for the examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the exam date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.

Mode of instruction

  • 8 lectures (2 hours each). Attendance is not mandatory. Weblectures will be made available.

Assessment method

100% Exam – 40 MC questions and 1 or more open questions (course objectives 1, 2 and 3).

All literature (book chapters, plus relevant articles as mentioned in the yearly-updated reading list on Brightspace), as well as the contents of the lectures will be part of the exam. Students will have to receive a 5.0 or higher for the MC and for the essay questions. The average grade should be 5.5 or higher.

Reading list

  • Several chapters from: McKay, D. (2008). Handbook of research methods in abnormal and clinical psychology. Sage. (Low-priced used books are widely available through international internet book sellers).

  • Additional relevant articles and book chapters (2-3 per lecture)

Contact information

Dr. Ilse Schuitema Dr. Rebecca Schaefer